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Our Constants

By Jay Carman

March 22, 2021

In the past year of disruption and dislocation, I’m sure that you have sought reassurances from the constants in your life. Family has certainly been one of those constants. Like many of you, for me and my company, StandFast Packaging Group, the family and the business, in the past and for the future, are closely related.

That family feeling also extends to AICC. Our Association works well because of the family atmosphere of collegiality and caring. Because of the pandemic, we have been away from our AICC family for too long. Hopefully, this will change soon.

My father, John Carman, and his business partner, John Morrice, founded StandFast in 1967. Today we have the third generation of the Carman family working in the business alongside my three brothers and me.

The StandFast story is not so different from the stories of so many AICC members. There are many multigeneration AICC member companies. So many are celebrating historical anniversaries that AICC recognizes during the “Members Milestones” presentation during national meetings. Companies have shared with their fellow members their 40-, 50-, 75-, and 100-year anniversaries, and the celebrations always highlight the origin and the family.

Sadly, my father passed away July 2 at age 90. Serving as your Chair since the fall of 2019 is a continuance of my father’s service to AICC. He was a founding member and served in various roles in the governance of AICC through the early years and beyond. But he left a legacy in his sons, in the company he created, and in the Association he helped found.

These legacies come to mind when we turn our thoughts to other members of AICC’s “greatest generation” who have passed this year. Ross Ausburn, Jim Johnson Sr., and Marvin Grossbard all built companies that are outstanding printers and converters today and a far cry from their humble roots—great representatives of AICC and the independent spirit of entrepreneurship and customer focus. They, along with my father, were founders and builders. They passed a torch that is extremely important today, and given what we went through in 2020, perhaps more important than ever.

We need to continue to grow, to learn, and to build our companies with the same spirit, fervor, and boldness that our predecessors showed. We have tremendous tools available to us: high technology for production and efficiency; the internet; unparalleled communication power; the most educated and capable workforce; AICC; our supplier partners; and each other.

Our box plants have been operating at historically high levels in response to the changing dynamics of the supply chain, wrought by the pandemic. When we emerge from the pandemic, will our markets, will our customers, revert back to what we have been familiar with, or will there be a new landscape?

Bet on the new landscape. As with the upheaval of the past year, the new can be as challenging as it is exciting. To navigate successfully, I suggest we rely on the constants that have kept us grounded and successful: our families and our family businesses.

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Jay Carman

President, StandFast Packaging Group

Chair, AICC